Self-care seems to be a big buzzword lately that has a personal meaning for everyone. For many, self-care is a tool for stress management.
For you, perhaps, self-care looks like a quick workout each morning or taking the time to prepare healthy meals for yourself.
Maybe it takes the form of a well-deserved trip to the spa or dedicating a few minutes to enjoy your morning coffee in peace and quiet.
However it presents itself in your life, self-care is vital to our physical and mental health. But there is another form of important self-care than seemingly goes unnoticed…financial self-care.
At face value, it might seem your finances have nothing to do with self-care, but the reality is that statistics show otherwise.
Did you know that 59% of divorced Americans state that finances played a role in their divorce? In addition, money stress has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, migraines, sleep problems, depression, and more.
Regardless of the amount of self-care, affirmations, or personal development you practice, you won’t reap the benefits if you’re constantly under a great deal of financial stress.
If you show yourself the same attention and self-care in this part of your life as you do in others, it could have a huge impact on your overall well-being.
Self-care does not only apply to your physical body. If you want to give the best of yourself to the most important people in your life, you must also attend to your mental health.
How To Practice Financial Self-Care
These six actionable tips will help you prioritize your financial self-care.
1. Get Involved in Your Family Finances
This is so important, especially for stay-at-home moms, where the husband handles the finances. You and your spouse are a team, and it is important that you are informed should there ever be an emergency where you are forced to be the primary decision-maker.
Do you know how to access all your accounts? Do you know where your insurance policies are? Do you have a will so your children will be properly cared for?
When you are not the breadwinner it can often feel as though it’s not your right to make decisions regarding money in your household, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Make your voice heard. Educate yourself about your family’s finances, and you will start to feel more in control and less overwhelmed. Stress and worry are often a result of the unknown, so simply being on the same page as your spouse or partner can make a substantial difference.
2. Live Debt-Free
Financial guru, Dave Ramsey, always says, “the borrower is slave to the lender!” Being in debt means your money isn’t your own.
Having to pay someone else a part of your income will keep you from achieving financial freedom.
Paying off all your debt and living within (or even below) your means will allow you to have money to save, invest and build wealth over time, eventually affording you a life completely devoid of financial stress.
Depending on your current financial situation, this may sound impossible, but saving money for emergencies, not using credit cards, and living on a budget will all help you reach this goal! Debt-free = stress-free.
3. Be Intentional With Your Money
Intentionalism is another concept that seems to be gaining popularity lately.
In a world filled with consumerism, intentional living teaches you to prioritize spending on things that bring you value and fulfillment.
While frugal living might not be for everyone, intentional spending can be! Have you ever experienced “buyer’s remorse”?
Being intentional with your purchases assures you will not feel guilty about spending, which can lead to stress and anxiety.
Being intentional with your money can actually cause you to experience joy…and it’s liberating.
4. Practice Gratitude
Taking time each day to practice gratitude is crucial. Gratitude breeds contentment…but simply saying “I’m grateful for what I have” isn’t really practicing gratitude.
Sure, it’s good to be grateful but try going a bit deeper to really reap the benefits.
This practice is also one of the easiest and can fit into the margins of your day.
Upon waking in the morning, and before sitting up or reaching for your phone, immediately think of three things you’re grateful for.
Pause for a moment and feel grateful for the wonderful day ahead of you.
Setting your intentions first thing in the morning helps you subconsciously set the tone for the rest of your day.
Work at practicing gratitude in all the empty moments of your day.
Turn the radio off on your drive to work – speak out loud if it helps – and express your gratitude for your job and the fact that you can work and earn money.
Express gratitude for the car you’re driving and the gas helping you reach your destination.
It might seem silly at first, but eventually, you will start to feel the gratitude welling up inside of you, and you will start to feel more at peace.
5. Seek Joy and Contentment
Are you feeling content with your life as it is now? Or do you find yourself always trying to keep up with the Joneses? It seems that so many people are spending money they don’t have to impress others.
This creates a vicious cycle of envy, overspending, and feeling like who you are and what you have just isn’t enough.
These constant feelings of inadequacy can affect your self-esteem and confidence. There will always be someone prettier, wealthier, funnier, or skinnier.
The key to contentment is learning to love yourself and your life right now.
6. Set Goals
The practice of setting and achieving goals is incredibly rewarding.
As humans, we are made to be challenged, which also applies to your finances!
Take some time to dream together as a couple.
Where would you like to see yourself or your family in a year? Five years? Ten years? Retirement? What would you like to do together? As a family?
Set your goals, create a plan, and work towards them – Every. Single. Day. Even if it’s just a small step.
Keeping them visible at all times, being consistent, and tracking your progress will help you stay focused on your goals.
Money will not make you happy, but it can provide freedom.
Freedom to live a life you love without the weight of debt dragging you down. Freedom from financial stress so you can focus on other parts of your life that may need your energy.
And freedom to do what makes your heart happy instead of working each day to build someone else’s dreams.
As women, we seem to prioritize everything and everyone on everyone around us. Taking the time to nurture yourself in all areas will help you live a more balanced and purposeful life.
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Kristin Stones is the owner of Cents + Purpose, an online community dedicated to sharing practical personal finance content. Her mission is to equip women with the necessary tools and knowledge to take back control of their money and live a more purposeful life. She creates actionable content to help her audience achieve financial wellness using her simple approach to managing money - all learned through her personal experience of paying off almost $55,000 of debt in under two years.